FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 30, 2023
For More Information, Contact:
Institute for Public Health Innovation: Communications Director Taya Jarman, APR 202-747-3541 E: Tjarman@institutephi.org
Andre Francis, Director, Strategic Communications
Two refrigerated trailers will increase food storage capacity, reduce food waste, and support sustainable infrastructure to respond to food system disruptions.
Prince George’s County, MD. – On Friday, June 30, the Prince George’s County Food Equity Council (FEC), an Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI) initiative, and Washington Gas introduced two new cold storage trailers in Calverton and Laurel, MD. The partnership purchased, upgraded, and designed a wrap for the refrigerated trailers that will enable food assistance providers and food pantries to distribute more fresh food to residents in need.
This project builds on the success of a similar project and partnership that, via funding from Washington Gas, brought three trailers to county-based non-profit organizations in 2021. Seeing the impact and success of this work, Washington Gas was eager to continue these important investments.
“We applaud our partners at the Prince George’s County Food Council for their innovative approach of adding cold food storage capacity to better meet the critical needs of our community,” said Blue Jenkins, President of Washington Gas. “We began this partnership in 2021 because of the on-going food insecurity needs throughout the region and found it fitting to continue being a part of such a spectacular initiative. We are proud to be a part of the solution, along with other funders, non-profit partners, and local and state governments.”
At least four neighboring organizations will share the two new 48-foot trailers. Participating organizations will work together to purchase perishable foods like fruits, vegetables, and dairy stored in the shared refrigerated space. The trailers create an opportunity to distribute fresh and healthy food to underserved and vulnerable families. The new space helps increase the amount of food that can be stored and distributed while reducing the amount of perishable food wasted due to insufficient cold storage space.
“In addition to addressing the growing trend of food insecurity, this project serves as a proof of concept for future innovative food system infrastructure projects,” said IPHI President and CEO Michael Rhein. The two non-profit partners consider the project a way to strengthen their capabilities and build a better safety-net system for local clients. Rhein added, “We will continue to work with partners to share best practices, develop additional cold storage solutions, and increase the distribution of healthy, fresh food in Prince George’s County.”
Although food insecurity skyrocketed three years ago when the pandemic started, county residents are still struggling. Fluctuating food prices and cuts to pandemic-era emergency allotment have continued to
strain food pantries throughout the county. Food pantries are distributing more food and serving more clients than prior to the pandemic, which calls for more food and infrastructure to distribute food.
Washington Gas will continue its support of the immediate and long-term food security needs, part of the company’s wider giving strategy supporting social service organizations throughout the region. Funding for this project went towards purchasing and upgrading the two trailers at Kingdom Fellowship AME Church and the Tabernacle Church of Laurel. Funding was also used to hire Whitney Frazier of WGF Studio, a local artist who designed and painted the outside of the trailers.
About the Prince George’s County Food Equity Council
The Prince George’s County Food Equity Council (FEC) is a local food policy council that works to help residents grow, sell, and choose healthy foods. Since 2013, FEC has been a voice for county residents at the policymaking table. The FEC focuses on systematic and sustainable changes to promote health, economic opportunity, food security, and well-being in Prince George’s by advocating for policy that creates a more equitable local food system. The FEC is housed within the Institute for Public Health Innovation. For more information on FEC, visit www.pgcfec.org and follow FEC on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook | @pgcfec.
About Washington Gas
Washington Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of AltaGas Ltd [TSX:ALA], is a regulated natural gas utility that provides safe, reliable natural gas service to more than 1.2 million customers in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. The company has been providing energy to residential, commercial and industrial customers for almost 175 years. Learn more at www.washingtongas.com. Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
About Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI)
IPHI develops multi-sector partnerships and innovative solutions to improve the public’s health and well-being across the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. IPHI’s work strengthens health systems and policy, enhances conditions that promote health, and builds community capacity to ensure equitable health opportunities. Nationally, IPHI is one of over 40 public health institutes and a member of the National Network of Public Health Institutes. For more information about IPHI, visit: www.institutephi.org and follow IPHI on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @InstitutePHI.